Chocolate Lava Cake is an individual chocolate cake served hot so its gooey center can be enjoyed at its peak.
Pudding-like, brownie-like, cake-like, soufflé-like, mousse-like are terms that have all been used to describe this popular dessert.
It combines the elements of a flourless chocolate cake and a soufflé, giving it a rich, intense chocolate flavor, and a dense, moist texture.
The four main ingredients are butter, eggs, sugar, and chocolate.
The butter and chocolate are melted together, while whole eggs are either whisked with the sugar or egg whites are whipped into an egg foam depending upon the desired density of the cake.
These cakes are usually baked in individual ramekins, molds, custard cups, or even muffin tins.
They can either be served in their molds or removed before serving.
When baking, this cake rises, but once removed from the oven it slowly deflates.
Not until you penetrate the outer crust, do you find the pudding-like center.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten claims to have invented this cake in New York City in 1987.
According to him, he pulled a chocolate sponge cake from the oven before it was done and found that the center had both good taste and texture even though it was still runny.
It's argued, however, that this type of cake already existed in France.
Whether or not Vongerichten actually invented the dessert, he is credited with increasing its popularity in the United States.
Lava Cakes are usually served hot.
Often they're served with chocolate sauce and/or vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, clotted cream or crème fraiche.
Sometimes they're simply topped off with powdered sugar and fruit, such as raspberries.